Natsuyuki Rendezvous – There’s something irresistible about Natsuyuki Rendezvous and it’s not just how ridiculously adorable Rokka is. It’s something in the air, just the way the anime bares its romance and tension, not through energy and emotion but a lack thereof. Rather than a pack of teenagers unable to control their hormones or some otaku’s disturbing fantasy animated out for everyone to feel awkward by, Natsuyuki Rendezvous feels like a legitimate romance with an amusing twist added in with the dead husband floating around. And given the cast of characters, a fine selection of refreshingly calm and intelligent adults, it is not wonder why Natsuyuki is such a gem among the other anime this season. However, this anime is not without its faults, of which there are aplenty. There is no energy in this anime, no sense of urgency or sense of passion or excitement. You’d almost believe they lived in a world where emotions were heavily taxed with the way they interact with each other. And the melodrama is so heavy, it continuously bogs down the anime, only reversed when Rokka can dispel it with her bright smile. And that only works some of the time. But otherwise, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is a wonderful romance anime that seems destined for greatness. If it’s able to fix a few of its flaws and provide some interesting romantic stories and tensions, then this Natsuyuki will be near the top for anime this season.
Joshiraku – What makes Joshiraku a delightful comedy is that it mirrors real life. The characters resemble human beings, not those overused anime archetypes or wacky personalities that plague your average anime comedy. The delivery is often subtle and clever, never over-the-top gags where CHARACTERS START SHOUTING SO YOU KNOW WHEN TO START LAUGHING or anything relating to otaku humor that was original material back in the 1980s, like when Taro Every Lead falls on Blonde Busty Senpai and gropes her… oh wait, that was never original or funny. The subjects are commonplace and often relatable, as well as intimate and individual. Who hasn’t experienced a time where you and a bunch of friends are just talking about random stuff and it leads from one topic aimlessly to another, dotted with amusing or down-right hilarious moments for a damn good evening? Conceivably, what makes Joshiraku such an entertaining and enjoyable anime is that it reflects real life much better than any other anime, much like Daily Lives of High School Boys did in the Winter. It is remarkable with how it presents itself. However, not every aspect of Joshiraku is quite this impressive. The comedy is rather tame, never really producing moments where you throw back your head and laugh until your sides pain you back into reality. With a hefty amount of the humor derived from puns and lost in translation, we’re only able to understand only a fraction of this show’s true humor and are left with a close English substitute. And at times, often at the beginning of a skit when the girls are just beginning the conversation with each other, the anime can be a bit slow. Nevertheless, these are minor complaints which that can be improved as the season goes on. Joshiraku is a pleasant comedy that is certain to amuse and entertain with its cast of young, captivating rakugo artists. It easily earned a spot on my Summer viewing list and appears to already be one of the top anime this season in my eyes.
None this week, though through peer pressure, it looks like Binbougami ga! will be kept, though that’s probably what I was planning on regardless of episode two’s zany antics.
Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate – Well, that was painful. I should’ve recognized from the tags that this anime would be another unoriginal trainwreck: school, clubs, elections, harem, romantic bullshit, childhood friend, abysmal lead, etc. etc. Oh, and to top it off, the anime is censored, too. Yeah, seriously, what’s the point when there’s only a couple pantyshots that need censoring anyway? What a waste. The cast is more devoid of personality than normal. Essentially, every line of dialogue is the output of what you’d expect from whatever anime archetypes were present provided it was their turn to talk (because everyone patiently waits their turn to respond in conversations?) I didn’t realize people still enjoyed anime like this seeing as three of four of these titles are produced every season. The best part about this anime (besides a couple of cute girls) was the big red box with a giant “X” in it. It was always there, in the corner of my eye, from start to finish, beckoning me to click it and release myself from this torment. Just knowing that release was there, that safety, that escape, that at any moment this anime would be over, gave me the power and endure and press onward in order to give this anime a fair chance. But I didn’t last more than 7 minutes before using it and saving myself.
With that said, it appears that this anime season will indeed be thin like previously imagined. It’s not necessarily that the season is terrible but more along the lines of there being a smaller volume of anime to watch compared to the previous seasons. In reality, I’ll be busy with quite a number of anime, especially considering the fact that a few are already in the undecided region and all require another episode before their second judgment. Nevertheless, it’s not the amount of anime that’s watched but rather what anime is watched. And as long as there are good anime this summer, which, of course, there are, then this season will be a success.